Transcription of audio essay that originally appeared on The Final Straw.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, he was convicted in the early 1980‘s of killing a cop in Philadelphia and not too long ago his death sentence was reduced to life. Mumia has maintained all along that he did not shoot that cop; and there is plenty evidence to support his claims, but you know what? If I am going to be completely honest, part of me kinda hopes Mumia did shoot him.
I’ve always had a different take on this case than most people. Remember Mumia was found at the scene shot in the chest. He almost died. We can presume the cop shot Mumia before he died, which means he was not shot yet, which means he shot Mumia before getting shot. It’s safe to assume the cop fired first, whoever it is that shot him in response.
And so what if Mumia shot him. What? Are we gonna run out of cops?
Look, we live in a capitalist society. It’s governed by capitalist values.One of the central principals of capitalism is the law of supply and demand.The more plentiful a product, the lower it’s value; the more rare a product, the higher it’s value. That’s why coal is cheaper than diamonds. Read more »
This is a transcript of an audio essay that originally aired on The Final Straw. Imagine the government hired you for a secret program and it turned out you were the manager of an idiot factory. This idiot factory took normal people and mangled their minds. Idiots come off the assembly line. Do you think you’d feel a moral duty to shut down that idiot factory?And if you couldn’t shut it down would you find some way to burn it down?
Okay.Well, if you are a school teacher and you care about the best interests of the students, I urge you to go into the idiot factory that employs you on Monday with a can of gasoline and a book of matches.
Consider: We do more learning from birth to the age of five than we do the rest of our lives. All of us. All humans. And if you think about it, it makes sense the incredible amount of learning we have to do. Learning for instance that we are separate from the rest of the world, that we end at the bottoms of our feet and tops of our heads: object permanence, the idea things still exist when you can’t see them; language- that sounds mean something, and that words are symbolic representations of something, and which words apply to which things. We learn gravity by throwing mashed potatoes. We learn to walk. The most crucial event for any swivilized human: we learn to control our bowels. We learn that it is bad to walk around leaking and then we learn a complex process to dispose of our leakage.
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Submitted for OSP Writing Contest, Black History Month, 2014
Distinguishing Freedom From Recognized Rights
(500 words or less)
Any discussion of rights must distinguish real freedom—the absence of external regulation—from the concept of “recognized rights” arising as it does from theories of constitutional authority and law. To contrast, real freedom is a condition of existential reality, while “recognized rights” are paper fictions.
To understand real freedom, one must imagine two points at either end of a continuum. The first point, “freedom,” is “the absolute absence of external regulation.” At the opposite end of the continuum is complete external regulation, the absence of freedom. Thus, where freedom exists, there is an absence of external regulation, and vice-versa. The line connecting these two points represents interplay between the two opposing forces, varying degrees of freedom and regulation:
Freedom —————————————-——— Absolute external regulation
(absence of external regulation) (absence of freedom)
Importantly, implicit in this analytical framework, freedom cannot coexist with government, because government’s purpose is to govern. To govern is to regulate, and where regulation exists, as already established, freedom is absent. Thus, governments by their very character are the antithesis of freedom. Read more »